FCC Reveals ‘Experimental Authorization’ Plans For Space Travel Communications

Space Travel and Spectrum Communications

Do you want to launch a shuttle into space? If you have the capabilities, you might also soon have access to a new FCC approval program that offers the temporary use of space friendly communications spectrum. The FCC on Friday announced a new Experimental Authorization program for commercial space company communications. The FCC plan will allow space companies such as SpaceX to temporarily use open spectrum space while traveling into space.

At this time, SpaceX, XCOR Aerospace and Space Expedition Corporation, and other commercialized space agencies must request special as-needed permission to access FCC controlled spectrum channels.

Sadly, despite their work with governmental agencies, specifically NASA, the requested spectrum is not necessarily ensured at this time, a fact that can delay missions and put astronauts’ lives in danger.

Under the Experimental Authorization program, companies can apply to the FCC for use of the spectrum and then be granted that space prior to launch.

In an official statement for the program, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s writes:

Our actions today are designed to accelerate the growth of a new American industry with major growth potential, commercial space launches. Companies can’t launch or operate space vehicles without spectrum, and today the U.S. is leading the way in developing rules of the road for commercial space launches. Our measures to streamline processes and increase predictability will help boost U.S. leadership in the commercial space industry.

Space travel companies must first apply for an FCC registration number after which time they can submit an application for the Experimental Authorization program.

Authorization grants will last six months from the time of approval. Companies can request new authorization after their six months of use expires.

While the spectrum is owned by the US government, it is rented out to other agencies. Space travel firms such as SpaceX require spectrum authorization to ensure that their own communications do not interfere with a renting party’s own communications technology.